Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, notebook, and tablet seem to come with their own charger. If you’re like me, you have probably compiled quite a few chargers over the years. So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, laptop, camera, or tablet computer that is not the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this article, we’ll focus on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, tablet computers, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. While some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most common.
Laptop chargers are rather specific to the device they come with. However, there may be some generic chargers which boast the capability to be interchanged between laptops. This always requires changing of this charger”head” and may not be the best charging amperage or voltage for your device.
Micro USBs are designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in many smartphones, Android apparatus, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw various amps. I’ll explain this further later and how to know if the charger is safe to use (based on its recorded amps and voltage).
Apple Lightning Connectors are standard on all new Apple devices, such as iPads and iPods. For older devices with a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.
The Plugs Must Be The Same
For a charger for use on a different device, it’s important that the plug of the charger (the”head”) fit snugly to the charging port of the unit. Micro USBs are the same across the board so far as charging heads, while laptop chargers are often specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is only one part of the equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll find a tag with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A). For other types of chargers, like a smartphone charger, this information is usually found at the base of the charger, where it would meet the wall. For the device you’re trying to control, the voltage and amperage required will be found on the battery that came with the device or on the manufacturer’s website.
Voltage is how much power the charger will draw into the device, or just how much is being”pushed” into the apparatus by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, though a notebook can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage required by the device. This is important: drawing too high a voltage could short out the device and possibly even begin a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device. The amount of volts won’t ever change, but the quantity of amps that the device pulls may change depending on how hard the unit is working. The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device are the max amount of amps which can be pulled from the device. If a unit is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp requirement, it can burn out the power source and kill the device.
So for those who have a modern USB device (smart phone, tablet, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy faster charging (so long as the voltage is equal). *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB interfaces that employ the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage recorded with a plus/minus on it like that: 5v +- 5%. If this is true, you can use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that rating is telling you is that the apparatus can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting thing to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That is pretty much how they operate. There needs to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the proper way to charge the battery. If you look at your car, it’s a 12V battery, but average alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
The issue with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is that they often don’t support the energy needs of the apparatus, or aren’t built to keep a steady flow securely. This can result in damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s best to stay with the charger made for the device you are using.
Now You Understand How to Safely & Effectively Swap Chargers
I hope this article was able to assist you. Now you know how to safely and effectively use a charger that did not include your smart phone, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other device. Make sure you follow what we said and you should be ready to go!